As you may have witnessed on social media, when asked, fertility patients want support for themselves and also want to support each other. And that is amazing. We have a great 4-week support group starting at the beginning of the year where you can get all of your questions answered and receive support from others who understand (click here for more information). But we know that it is not the end of the story.
Leaning on people who “get it” is great. But it is important to also remember the people who are, and have been, there for you. When your family is built and the stress is all over (and it will end), you will want those people in your life again. Therefore, it is so important to keep your relationships in a good place.
The holidays are stressful and fertility treatment can be stressful too. The unpredictability of the fertility journey can, as one patient said to me, can “take the stuffing out of you”. The stress can be enough to make you want to hide under the covers and not come out. But don’t.
People need people. It may sound corny but it’s true. We are so glad you are taking advantage of all of the tools the Center for Family Building has to offer to make your journey easier. But we also care about your life after you “graduate” and have built your beautiful family and if your relationships are not intact, life will not be what you want it to be. So, here are some things to consider as you decide whether or not you want to stop talking to your friend who got pregnant “by accident” or your mother-in-law to keeps saying, “don’t worry honey you can always adopt”.
The first thing to know is that we all come to every relationship with our own set of preconceived ideas and belief systems. We all have our own ideas and thoughts about how things work in the world. Part of this comes from the way we were raised; part comes from our temperament and part comes from our current life circumstances. Going through fertility treatment is stressful, I don’t need to tell you that, but it does not need to define you and it does not need to ruin your relationships. You can choose to act differently than you feel.
You may believe that your partner doesn’t care about having a child when they are not distraught after a failed cycle, and may just be processing it differently. Your best friend may not understand that telling you how sleep deprived she is with her new baby could be triggering, and you may be angry at every person that posts their baby bumps on social media.
Remember that your mind may tell you something different than what is really happening and it may be helpful to talk to them about your perspective. Rather than assuming your partner is angry at you for something, ask them what they mean by the comment that sounded harsh. If your best friend has not returned your texts all week, ask her if she received them and ask her what is going on in her life.
Perhaps, a conversation won’t work and in order to preserve the relationship, you may need to set limits with certain people so you don’t get their unsolicited advice. You may need to change the conversation; tell some people you don’t want to talk about fertility treatment or just keep your conversations short, but that doesn’t mean you must cut them out of your life. There are many ways to keep your relationship in tact while going through treatment.
When you are stressed, this may be the last thing you want to do. I get it, life is tough right now and you may not feel you have the energy or the interest to take this extra step to clear up communication issues with the people you love.
This is not about winning or losing it is about putting forth a little extra effort in order to bring about much more joy and satisfaction for you and the ones you love. If you can do this, the added joy and love you receive from your repaired relationship will not only help the relationship, but will be a cushion for many of the difficulties you encounter in life.
Feel free to stay in touch with us, attend our groups and connect with us on social. We are here for you. And before you decide what your loved one means by a certain comment or action, try to work it out. One day you may be glad you did.